Tasting glasses or nearly empty pint glasses for blind tasting?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BillAfromSoCal, Nov 17, 2020.

  1. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I want to have a couple people over to do some side by side blind tasting of some beers that I think will be new to them (and to me). I have decided that for me the best way to figure out which of the many IPAs I really like is to taste them side by side and blind. My question is, I have a bunch of pint glasses and I also have a bunch of taster glasses of uniform size/shape. Do you think I should use the pints where the empty space will hold smell and head very nicely, or use tasters which are likely full in a 3-4 oz pour. If someone has a taster they really like I can always hand them a pint glass for a larger pour, but I am interested in opinions.
     
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  2. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Defender (640) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey
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    Def don't use pint glasses for this. The amount of distance between the liquid and your nose is a bit to much for examining. The further away your nose is from the liquid the less it's able to pick up. Any taster glass that supports building up a head with walls that taper in towards the top of the glass creating a maximum focal point for the aroma would work. Any snifter style or tulip style taster glass is ideal for this situation. There are many on amazon that are dirt cheap for a whole set.
     
    #2 DEdesings57, Nov 18, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Yeah, use the tasters. That's what they're for, tasting/sampling.

    Shaker pints suck for beer.
     
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  4. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Sure that what they are for, but that does not necessarily mean they are opimized for tasting. They are optimized to minimize storage and dishwasher space for places that do lots of tasters and flights but the limited inputs so far sound like my tasters are a better choice than pints.
     
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  5. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    They're far more optimal than shakers can ever be.
     
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  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    In homebrew competitions we always use the clear plastic party "cocktail" glasses you can get in any grocery's paper plate/napkin aisle. So those are what I have on-hand for blind tasting.

    Be sure to get the clear ones, some are sort of frosted -- keeps you from seeing the true color and clarity.
     
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  7. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,960) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    I have 42 7.5 ounce wine taster glasses from World Market back when they sold them in 6 packs and we did wine tastings at our house. I have used them for beer tasting because they hold 7.5 oz and still give you plenty of room for head and swishing around if you desire. For the life of me I cannot find them anywhere on the web
     
  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,843) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Those sound great. I guess even stemmed casual everyday wine glasses would work just as well.
     
  9. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Meyvn (1,167) Oct 17, 2012 Texas
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    If you want to 'increase your blindness' may I suggest some type of opaque cup? You'd be surprised how heavily visual queues influence our tastes. Dark??? you expect chocolate coffee, etc.?
    Light. you expect hops. medium to low malt, etc. all, up front. before you've tasted or smell the beer, you've already begun to form an impression of how it'll taste in your mind.
     
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  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,778) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Yup, if you want to taste "blind" it is indeed best to not be able to see the beer in the glass: go opaque.

    Cheers!
     
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  11. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Hard disagree.

    "We eat first, with our eyes.", is an old quote from the foodie world, and applies well to beer. Ugly beers aren't as enjoyable, and they should show their true colors, just as a beautiful beer should be allowed to shine its light.
     
  12. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I'd personally go with neither option. Solo cups for me. Love them for the job.

    I don't want a glass I can see through for a blind tasting. I definitely don't want a 3oz pour... I want a 10oz pour. (A blind tasting with 3oz pours is a blind tasting of only first impressions.) I want all of the vessels to be identical. Solos give me the small added convenience of writing the name of the beer on the bottom of the cup as well as the randomized drink # on the side with a Sharpie.

    If I'm only doing a tasting with 2 or sometimes 3 beers, I'll use identical dark tea mugs instead. Anything larger than that gets the Solos (and I'm not a fan of a side by side with only 2 beers). If I'm feeling stupid enough to include 10 beers in a tasting, it isn't a problem with Solos. I'm also just talking about a tasting for one person (myself), but in your case you are talking about a group tasting (which could require a lot of glasses).

    People here will deride such a choice or claim that it will physically interfere with their ability to appreciate the beer. For me, the benefits easily outweigh the negatives. I stay away from the generic brands because I've found that they can give off an odor that I don't get with the big name brands. I actually like Hefty the best because their smooth bottom is even easier to write on.
     
  13. DokiDokiLitFam

    DokiDokiLitFam Disciple (390) Jun 3, 2019 New Jersey

    Glencairns! Break out the Glencairns!
     
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  14. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I can see the advantages of doing this so that the appearance does not prematurely bias my thoughts if my goal was to determine what STYLE of beer I like so , but in this case it will be all IPAs, and to me the appearance is part of the experience, so there there will not be any opaque cups used here.
     
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  15. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Hiding the appearance helps to hide the identity.
     
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  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,843) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    I'll just suggest that my own super genius innovation allows you to both be able to judge the beer's appearance as well as keep yourself honest:

    Include an additional sample that is a blend of all the beers that you are tasting. (It only works when doing a 'same style' tasting, naturally)
     
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  17. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Meyvn (1,167) Oct 17, 2012 Texas
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    That's a good point, but I think there is still room to remove preconceived bias and expectations.
    For example, you're provided with a NEIPA and a beer that looks like, say, Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Just by looking at them, would you know be able to put them in, at least, a generalized 'expectation box'?
     
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  18. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    If you don't know the beers you're drinking, other than style, how would you know which one was which by color?

    I think we need more information on this tasting. @BillAfromSoCal is telling us they're all IPAs, so I think appearance would be enlightening to show how different IPAs can actually be.
     
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  19. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,960) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    yeah depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the tasting. For example if it was a brulosophy type tasting where you were trying to determine odd beer out based on taste then yes you want opaque tasters to prevent that from giving it away. I use these glasses when sharing a big bottle, or when playing a game my kids have where someone pours a beer and you have to guess the style, abv, brewer, etc. So depends on what you are trying to accomplish
     
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  20. micada

    micada Zealot (543) Jul 13, 2015 New York
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    So what you do is pour the SAME beer in DIFFERENT glass types, give them to one person and see if they come up with different outcomes.

    Whichever glass gives them the best impression becomes the glass they use for all other multi-beer tastes.

    Or just send me all the beers so I can tell you which ones are best.
     
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  21. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    When I do a side by side, I pour the beers. I don't have a butler who pours my beers like @AlcahueteJ has. I've had my moments when I figured: "I'm just doing a tasting of Kolsch, how different can they be in appearance? I'll just use a regular glass." And then I instantly regret that decision when I see that I can easily tell the beers apart upon pouring them. This will obviously not be an issue for the OP's guests if they're just being handed already poured beers.
     
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  22. traction

    traction Defender (676) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia
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    @AlcahueteJ I will pay your butler .89% > prime is they choose to serve my home prior to yours. Just FYI, is it morally repugnant to hold an immigrants family remember hostage? Capitalism and all
     
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  23. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,843) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    I started having my kids help out when they were 13 or so; so it won't be long before you have a butler of your own. :grin:
     
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  24. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2020 California

    In my case wife will number the beers and corresponding glasses, wife would pour and serve the multiple tasters to the participants. The participants will not know anything about the beers other than they are IPAs, until they are done tasting and scoring. At least one beer will be repeated (same beer in replicate glasses) unbeknownst to the participants just to see if they actually rank it consistently. The whole reason I do this is that normally when I try a new beer and down the 12-16 oz I come away thinking "this is good, but was it really better than beer "ABC" or "XYZ" that I had a few days ago?" I am not going to drink 4-5 beers myself (I know...I am funny that way) so sharing those beers with a couple friends sounds both fun and efficient.
     
    #24 BillAfromSoCal, Nov 18, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
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  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Exactly.

    Most of the time I have help, but when I don't I number the bottom of each glass corresponding with the order I've left the bottles in another room -- pour without great attention to the appearance and switch the glasses around a few times like 3 Card Monty. Taste and note.

    I'm usually doing same style, so appearance is also similar until you take in close-up detail.

    But again, so many times these are new beers to me, so I'm not familiar with their appearance.
     
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,584) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I was thinking the same thing, small solos. For small portions fancy glasses aren’t needed, when your done you just throw them away. At least that’s what I would use.
     
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  27. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,960) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    So you are just tasting beers and ranking them, in that case I would like to see the beer when drinking it so I would go with a clear glass
     
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  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,647) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Ha, I don’t know if this was meant as a dig because I’ve mentioned I had my beers poured for me during blind tastings before, or a dig at me being the richest member of Beeradvocate (all light hearted digs of course!).

    Either way I whole heartedly agree.

    For example if I do a blind tasting with Celebration, and it’s all IPAs, Celebration’s appearance is a dead give-away.

    I use coffee mugs for tastings.

    Sure, it’s my roommate. I’ll ask if he’s available.
     
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  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Have you seen Goose Island's Christmas IPA? Might throw you a curve -- call the butler. :slight_smile:
     
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  30. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    No digs intended. I just think doing any kind of critical judging without including appearance is a bad idea. But, again, looks are more important to me than smell. i sniff a beer but once, but I look at it every time I take a sip/gulp/quaff.
     
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  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,647) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Oh my apologies, the "dig" comment was directed at @zid. And I know it was meant in jest.

    I actually agree with you, but I'm referring to blind tastings I've done in which I know the beers already and I'm trying to determine which one's I actually think taste better without bias.

    So I already know what they look like and don't want to have it given away which one is which.

    If I was fully evaluating a beer blindly I would definitely want to see the beer.
     
  32. defunksta

    defunksta Champion (897) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
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    Very interesting topic.
    I favor the clear taster glassware. Taster size to bring the nose closer to the beer. Clear so that you can assess the appearance of the beer, which is one of the four qualities to a rating.
    My favorite way to rate beer is comparison to another one that is similar or nearly similar with an identifiable difference. This is usually two beers within the same style, but could be two beers of different, but similar styles.
    The way I do it is mark the bottom of the cup with a sharpie to know which is which. Pour each to an equal height noting which beer is in which cup. Shuffle the two cups. Because the glassware is clear don't look at the cup, but swirl the beer and compare the aromas. Then compare the flavors (aromas before the flavors so that you don't saturate your palate). Then make a judgement on the beers and guess to which beer is which.
    Afterwards reveal the beer and assess your accuracy. Then comprehensively review each beer with appearance, aroma, flavor, feel, and overall on the BA site.
    Lastly, come up with a new side-to-side comparison for the beer for next time.

    Cheers!
     
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  33. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,471) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
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    Anyone ever done a beer tasting in the dark? Seems that’s where this could be heading.
     
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  34. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,647) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    So like, a stout tasting?
     
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  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,647) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Here’s what I’m talking about. If I hadn’t poured these into coffee mugs first, the color would have given away Celebration and Bigfoot for sure.

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    But, take the Bigfoot out, and they're not particularly different. Plus, for all my bitching about Bigfoot taking 3 years to start tasting like a Barleywine, why would that even be in that set up? A "one of these things is not like the others" type deal?
     
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  37. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    So, and hang with me here for a minute, if a blind tasting is truly going to focus on taste only, shouldn't blindfolds and noseplugs be used? And, have the beers poured away from you so don't get any influence from how much "pop" one could hear when they're opened? And, there's no way to totally divorce the two, but body and carbonation need to be ignored, as much as possible, while actually consuming the beer.
     
  38. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I guess I did not realize I had to define "blind" in the context of my original post. All I want to do is figure out which one of several new IPAs I like most using a side by side comparison in which I don't know which beer is in which glass. "like" means everything adding to the drinking experience, including appearance, taste, smell. No opaque cups, blindfolds, nose clips, ear plugs, or any other sensory deprivation.
     
  39. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,817) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Oh, we completely understood. I just tend to take things to the end of the string. I've done plenty of blind tastings, but we've never left any aspect out.
     
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  40. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,584) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Blind is blind, appearance does influence our opinions, so imo to be fair the better you disguise the beers the more honest the scoring, no Prejudices.